Often times, if you have an affiliate program that has been going for more than a year – you have partners that signed up to promote your product or service and….ended up doing nothing.

This is common in all programs – no matter how successful your product or service is and how many people promote it. The fundamental thing to consider, however, is that there is a variety of reasons partners stop promoting.

So step 1 is understanding that…

Step 1: Segment & Ask.


It sounds clear – but many times, due to the easy, self-service way you can sign up for an affiliate program, we overlook the person behind that affiliate application or profile.

To get started you will want to:

  • Segment your affiliates in to two categories:
    • Those who signed up and have less than 20 clicks (all time) on their affiliate links (This signals they either signed up and promoted a little with no success or signed up and tested their link but didn’t promote).
    • Those who referred one customer (all time) and haven’t done anything since.

NOTE: you will want to be mindful of the date range you are pulling here. I would not pull data for affiliates who signed up beyond 2+ years back. Many have likely lost interest and won’t receive your message very well.

Step 2: Figure out how you are going to help them.

First the non-promoters (those who have less than 20 clicks on their links)  they might have a specific hurdle they are facing. Some common ones are:

  • They don’t know how to use the promotional materials you gave them to utilize on their website.
  • They don’t have a cohesive strategy to position your product or service in front of their audience.
  • They got distracted after they signed up.
  • They lost interest.

Those affiliates who referred one customer and stopped – might have an all new set of problems they face like:

  • They didn’t get paid their commission for their first customer referred so they stopped promoting.
  • It was a single use promotion (helping a single client with a single need)
  • They moved on to promoting a competitor
  • They needed tools (that you didn’t have) to expand their promotion  of your product or service.
  • They, too, could have lost interest.

Step 3: Write out a personalized email for each segment.



Here you will want to reach out to each segment with the honest intent to help them out. An email like this could be the right approach for an example of the first persona that we listed above:

INactive affiliate email

The focus here is: to objectively find out what might be holding them back and then come up with solutions to set them on the right path. It’s not about “pitching” them to get back in the game and promote more; you are trying to find out some qualitative information that held them up in the first place. 

Step 4: Listen, Optimize, and chart out next steps.


The truth is: you are likely going to get mix bag of answers or even: no responses at all. So it is going to be hard to prescribe the right solution for ALL affiliates in your segment.

However, you are probably going to start seeing some recurring themes between affiliates in each of the segments.

For example: There might be a cry from the non-performing affiliates they need additional resources, videos, or tools to help them convert more referrals. While, for the affiliates that promoted and secured one referred sale – they might have stopped promoting based on: not getting paid for that commission, didn’t have their payment details listed, or simply – they just had a single use case for the affiliate program. 

Final: Where many go wrong… (AKA – don’t do this!)

Many think that offering money to come back and promote, is a guaranteed success to get someone from no promotion to promoting. My personal opinion: Money/commission might have correlation for deciding to promote your products or services again, but not a direct correlation. Often times, from the affiliate’s perspective, this action is seen as the opposite; the company’s bandaid solution to helping affiliates.

Therefore – It’s best to get some info back from affiliates before offering any bonuses (aka reactivation bonuses) for promoting your services. It could be used along with what you find out from affiliates through your reactivation, personalized emails – but not the carrot at the end of the tunnel.

Have you run a reactivation campaign to affiliates? Considering on doing one but have some questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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Taylor is the Founder of The Up Foundry. 7+ years starting, managing and growing affiliate programs for Technology, subscription, and SaaS-based companies, Taylor works with clients all over the world to generate millions in sales and revenue from their affiliate programs each year.

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